Koelnmesse’s VP of Trade Fair Management Places the Spotlight on photokina 2014

Koelnmesse’s VP of Trade Fair Management Places the Spotlight on photokina 2014


Every two years in Cologne, Germany, photokina brings together the industry, trade, professional users and end-user consumers with a passion for photography. From image recording and processing to storage and output, innovations are demonstrated and cutting-edge technological developments and trends are placed in the spotlight, including mobile imaging, connectivity, movies and 3D printing. The photokina exhibits are rounded off by a program of events—conventions, workshops, symposia, photography shows and special events—all organized by Koelnmesse GmbH and Photoindustrie-Verband e.V.

We recently had an opportunity to interview Markus Oster, vice president of Trade Fair Management, and ask him about the biannual event that will take place September 16–21, 2014.

What does photokina offer buyers that other trade shows cannot offer?

Markus Oster:
photokina is unique since it is the only trade show worldwide that brings together the international trade, imaging professionals and consumers from all five continents under one roof. Manufacturers profit from feedback they receive from all those groups while attendees benefit from the know-how they can get directly from manufacturers.

The product range includes all phases of the product cycle, spanning from image capturing, storing, editing, sharing and printing. Our event provides unique networking opportunities for future business. All major market players are expected to be back in Cologne. photokina is the world’s leading fair for the imaging sector—an international trend and networking platform that is absolutely unique.

Will there be conceptual changes at photokina compared to the last event in 2012?

We have added new product areas to our event, such as 3D printing, and we’ve expanded on the DSLR camera segment that was successfully introduced in 2012. Another important segment at photokina will feature the improved ability to link images and share them via display screens, the Internet and printers. Connectivity will play a significant part in our offerings.

What is your organization doing to attract new international exhibitors and buyers?

We work hard to make photokina a must-see event for professionals as well as amateurs and beginners. We offer a wide range of programs on the show floor to engage the audience via our “stage programs” and workshops. For the international trade, we offer places to meet and network with industry associates, such as a VIP buyers lounge. We try hard to provide platforms that address the different needs of the photokina audience, whether they are dealers, professional users or consumers. Our promotional campaigns reach out to a broad spectrum of international specialist users—professional photographers, agencies, printing companies and software specialists.

What role do shows like photokina play in the world’s photo-imaging markets?

photokina is an international communication hub where exhibitors can reach all of the relevant target groups. Many of our exhibitors show their latest products, services and technologies that will influence the photo and imaging sector in the years ahead. The show plays an important role in helping to boost sales of the international imaging industry every two years.

Does the demand for greener and environmentally friendly products impact photokina?

We notice that a lot of the demand for environmentally friendly products actually originates on the consumer side, and as a response, we see more and more companies offering appropriate solutions. Many companies have already taken a lot of steps to become greener, and questions of sustainability and conserving resources play a key role for many of them in their production process. The industry’s innovations—whether they are new technologies or green products—are ultimately showcased at photokina.

What will be the program highlights of the 2014 photokina?

In 2014, photokina will highlight sections that showcase movie functions, connectivity and 3D printing. For the trade, we also offer market briefings that will provide country-specific industry information. The internationally renowned research company GFK will offer the market briefings. For imaging professionals, we will offer onstage programs on CGI and fine art printing, which should provide new ideas and inspirations.

Many companies wait until photokina to launch their new products, technological innovations and solutions to the international media, and they use our event to obtain immediate feedback from professional and amateur users. photokina will also present an exciting series of unique photo exhibitions. Details on those will be posted on our website this summer.

What hints can you give North American exhibitors in their preparation to effectively reach new markets?

As with many things, success has a lot to do with sound preparation and follow-up. Exhibitors should therefore look to support their presence by reaching out to potential customers prior to photokina. We offer a wide range of promotional options, especially for companies with new products; they can post information on the “New Product” database and the exhibitor press area. Exhibitors should use the promotional kit that allows them to do photokina-specific mailings and e-mails pointing to their photokina presence. Exhibitors should also form cooperative partnerships on our Facebook page. Through our online matchmaking services, visitors will be able to contact exhibitors with specific product inquiries.

North American exhibitors and buyers should be in touch with our Chicago-based subsidiary office. They provide answers on exhibit options, deadlines, travel and attendee registration. 

Why does photokina take place only every other year, and why is it always held in Cologne?

The two-year cycle works best for most companies in terms of product development, and it gives companies enough time to prepare for the “rollout” of their next product series during photokina. The event has steadily grown over the last 60 years. Cologne offers many obvious advantages; it is easily accessible via train, air or car and provides an excellent public transportation system within the city that is free of charge to exhibitors and attendees. Our exhibit grounds are among the most modern in the world, with easy access for attendees. And all halls are clearly structured by segments. We work hard on constantly improving our event and feel proud and fortunate to host such a hugely successful show here. 

Will there ever be a photokina event in North America?

We don’t have any such plans at the moment. So come to Cologne and see all that the 2014 photokina has to offer.